Friends

U-Haul Truck-It Challenge

At the end of this month, my family and I are moving to a new house.  My wonderful and amazing wife has handled almost all of the painful crap associated with buying a new house (dealing with the bank, setting up utilities, dealing with Realtors, getting our daughter’s school switched, and a million more things).

My primary responsibility is the move itself – getting things packed and making sure they get from House A to House B with minimal breakage.

Originally, my plan was to call some movers to handle the actual loading and transportation of all of our stuff.  Why?  Well, a) it is easier than trying to line up people and trucks to help us move, and b) I’m not a 20 year old kid* moving into a new apartment.

*No friends, I am not 20.  But, in the immortal words of Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy, I am a man.

On the surface, hiring movers seems like a slam dunk choice.  Instead of spending the day lugging boxes, couches, and appliances up and down stairs, you pay somebody else to do it for you.

A GMC U-Haul truck

Moving Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But there is a problem:  movers are not cheap.  They charge ridiculous hourly rates, and the amount of stuff we have means they’ll be working for many hours.  Maybe I should find some friends willing to help us move in exchange for pizza and beer.

Then it hit me – the perfect way to get us moved to the new house without breaking the bank – or alienating our friends who likely have better things to do on Labor Day weekend.

My inspiration?  The 1,200 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos I’ve seen in the last week.  What if I applied the success of that campaign to my move?  Here is how it will work:

<start shaky cell phone video>

“Hello!  This is Dave and I have been challenged by FeitCanWrite.com to participate in the U-Haul Truck-it Challenge.  As you know, moving eight years worth of crap from one house to a larger house is a challenge that nobody should have to face on their own.  Dave has had two back surgeries, and his poor mother worries about him carrying heavy objects.  If he has to move everything by himself, there is a good chance that he might miss the Nebraska football game against powerhouse Florida Atlantic – and we cannot allow that to happen.  That’s why I’m here to help.

“Here’s how the challenge works:  you have 24 hours to volunteer to help Dave move or he will come to your house or place of business and dump ice water on your head.  If you don’t want to volunteer, you can donate $10 towards hiring movers.  Once you complete the challenge, you nominate three more people to participate, giving them 24 hours to act.

“Since moving sucks, I have chosen to donate $10, <holds up ten dollar bill> but I want to know what my friends will do.  That’s why I’m challenging Sammy Sucker, Jane Hasatruck, and Marty Movington to participate.

“Guys, you have 24 hours!”

<cell phone video cuts off awkwardly>

*   *   *

There are many of my friends and readers that I have helped move over the years.  Now is the time for payback.  Consider yourself tagged in the U-Haul Truck-it Challenge.  You have 24 hours to donate toward my moving expenses or share this post on Facebook/Twitter.

 

Happy Birthday to Everyone!

Those of you who have befriended me on Facebook might have noticed something – I don’t post birthday greetings on your Wall.

It’s nothing personal.  I truly like birthdays* and if I haven’t unfriended you yet, you can safely assume that I like you.

*I’m on record saying that your birthday should be a paid holiday.

But I’m probably not going to wish you a happy birthday on Facebook.

Why?  Four key reasons:

1.  I’m lazy.
I have a healthy amount of friends on Facebook (around 300, give or take).  On average, that means five days a week a Facebook friend is having a birthday.  Even if I felt like taking the 30 seconds to go to their wall, type “Happy Birthday ______!!!!” and hit enter, I’m wasting 2.5 hours of my life each year.

And for what?  To become the 43rd random person to wish you a happy birthday?  Pass.

I’d rather use those 2.5 hours for sleep, playing with my kids, or concocting some silly list.

2.  My generic wishes won’t make your day any brighter.
Answer me this:  will my birthday wishes (or lack thereof) have any notable impact upon your day?  The day after your birthday, when you’re sorting through the avalanche of notifications and wall posts, will you think “Huh, Dave didn’t wish me a happy birthday”?  Probably not.

Nor do I think you’ll say “Wow, look at all the people who remembered my birthday!  There’s Dave, that creepy guy from Econ 212, Brenda that I used to work with back in the 90s…”

3.  Facebook birthday greetings are more political than personal.

Let’s face it:  saying nothing more than “Happy Birthday” or “Have a great day!” represents the least required effort to show that you care.  Or more cynically – that you noticed the list of birthdays in the upper right hand corner.

And let’s not forget the politics of birthday greetings.  I’ve often wondered if the people who post “Happy Birthday!” truly care about that person’s birthday, or if they feel socially obligated to post something.  Will be ramifications if you don’t post birthday wishes to your boss or Rhonda the receptionist?  Are there people who judge me for not posting “Happy Birthday” on my wife’s wall, (even though Mrs. Feit Can Write usually receives two birthday cards from me, each with a handwritten note)?

My rule used to be:  If I don’t have anything more interesting/original to say than “Happy Birthday!” then I’m not going to bother.  And for the most part, that worked out nicely.  I like to believe that my buddy Jeff enjoyed it when I posted a picture of a car that looked a lot like his old Pontiac Parisienne on his wall.  But since I don’t want to offend anybody by ignoring them (or trying to draw an imaginary line on whose birthdays to recognize and whose to ignore), nobody gets a cold, impersonal message from me.

Call me old-fashioned, but immediate family and close friends are going to receive a birthday card in lieu of a generic FB post.

Happy Birthday

4.  We’re really not that close.
There.  I said it.

My list of Facebook friends is probably very similar to yours in that it is broken down into the following categories:

  • Acquaintances from high school / college
  • Current and former co-workers
  • Immediate family, cousins, aunts, and other assorted relatives
  • Friends of friends and that person you met at that thing a few years ago
  • Your real-life friends

And within those groups, do you really, truly care about wishing them a happy birthday?  No disrespect to many of my fellow Gretna High Dragons, but the odds are good that we haven’t seen each other since the last reunion (or graduation day), so don’t be sad when my greetings don’t come in.  I like to believe that guy I worked retail with 15 years ago is able to have an enjoyable and fulfilling celebration of his birth without a copy and paste Wall post from me.  (And if not, I sincerely apologize).

Of my 300 some Facebook friends, I’d guess that I have not have a face-to-face conversation with over 50% of them* in the last year.  With some notable exceptions, if it’s been a year since we’ve seen each other, I’m guessing that a “Happy Birthday!” from me isn’t going to make or break your day.  If it is, then we really should get together more often.  Call me.  Let’s do lunch or grab a beer.

*I had to do the math – After doing a quick count through my Friends list, it appears as if I’ve only conversed with 29% of my friends in the last year – and that was being pretty generous in defining a year and counting emails/texts as “conversation”).

*   *   *

I get that some of you still want to leave birthday messages for your Facebook friends.  That’s fine by me.  I’m not judging you, or mocking your decision* – you get to use Facebook how you want to use it (even if it hits every single one of my pet peeves).

*I’m not mocking you, but this brilliant post from College Humor probably is.  Worth the click.

Maybe you’re now rethinking your whole Facebook birthday strategy.  Should you bother posting birthday wishes for that long-lost friend, classmate, or former co-worker?   I can help with a simple two-step test.  If the person in question passes, then post away:

  1. Without using Facebook, would you know when their birthday is?*
  2. If that person posted birthday greetings on your wall, would your spouse/partner/whatever ask “Who is this person”?  If so, then don’t bother posting on their birthday.

*A former co-worker (whose birthday is in the fall) changed his Facebook birthday to December 25.  He said that he planned to de-friend anybody who wished him a happy birthday on Christmas, because they clearly didn’t know him that well – or remember that he had a birthday two months earlier.

*   *   *

So in conclusion, my dear and beloved Friends, please consider this post your birthday/anniversary/bar mitzvah/kid’s birthday/Groundhog’s Day greetings from me.  If it makes you feel better, you may post this on your wall and tag me in it.

Happy [Event_Name]!!!  I hope you have a great day!!!1!

And just we’re all on the same page (and I don’t get accused of being a hypocrite), I’ll be clear:  I’m not going to lose sleep, be upset, de-friend you, or anything else if you don’t post birthday greetings to me on my birthday.

More Facebook Pet Peeves

A year or so ago, I compiled a list of my biggest Facebook Pet Peeves.  While some of these have slipped away – the “copy and paste this as your status if you agree” movement has mercifully slowed down – some new ones have cropped up.  Technically many of these are more about annoying Friends do than true pet peeves, but close enough for the Internet…

As before, the standard disclaimer applies:  If any of these apply to my current Facebook friends, (and you might be able to guess where most of my inspiration came from) I mean no offense.  Consider it a friendly intervention (sans the How I Met Your Mother banner).  You might get defensive at first, but I’m only telling you because I care.  If you disagree, I’ll respect your right to de-friend me (but know that I might do it first).

Extreme Partisan
Obama sucks, Republicans are stupid hypocrites, the Occupy movement was a bunch of dirty hippies, the Tea Party is full of racist jackasses, and on and on and on.  Every single post is about furthering your agenda, spreading some gross distortion, or sharing your general disdain for the other side.

Unfortunately, the only thing you’re convincing me is the next time I bump into you, I should either pretend that I’m running late or keep the conversation solely on the weather.  Even then, you’ll probably try to blame George W. Bush for the heat or mock Al Gore for the chilly temps.

Single Issue Guy
A close cousin of the Extreme Partisan.  Instead of telling me how the other party is ruining the country, you lock in one issue.  All day.  Every day.  24/7/365.

I get it:  you like your Second Amendment rights.  You hate abortion.  Gays should be allowed to marry.  While I may or may not agree with your positions, I am not coming to Facebook looking to debate issues (especially when your best argument is some ridiculous image with a bumper sticker slogan or tired talking points falsely attributed to a celebrity.

Please stop filling my timeline with your propaganda.  Of if that is too hard for you, at least try to mix it up.  Give me your rabid rantings and conspiracy theories on the designated hitter, college football playoffs, or the age-old Taste Great/Less Filling debate.

Recipe Sharer
My news feed currently has recipes for seven different chocolate-laden desserts, two pies, four casseroles, and enough quick and easy dinners using Pillsbury crescent rolls to last a month.  Enough!  Unless you made it yourself, I don’t need to see a picture of it.  And if you’re not offering to make these dishes for the rest of the class, find a better system for storing recipes*.

*Some recipe posts urge you to share so it will show up on your Wall so you can find it later.  Yeah, I’m sure when I’m trying to make a dessert for Christmas dinner, I’ll remember to go into my Facebook Wall, navigate to February 2013…wait, was that in March?…skim through two dozen other recipes…or was it January?  When was the Super Bowl?…hope that particular recipe is actually displayed on my Wall…no, I’m pretty sure it was February, because that was when Cousin Tito was in town…and hopefully find that recipe. 

Recipe sharers, there’s a site you should check out.  It’s called Pinterest.

Game Player
Please don’t invite me to play another game.  I’m perfectly capable of wasting time on my own.  Also, I don’t give a crap that you just passed Level 71 on Candy Crush Saga or scored 30 points on Words With Friends – and I play both of those games.  Here is a tip*:  when you authorize Facebook to use an app, change the privacy to “Only Me”.  That way, nobody else has to suffer through your latest “achievement.”

*Time to break out my Feit Can Write end-user documentation skills for a quick Public Service Announcement:

How to Change Sharing for Facebook Apps (or How to Keep Automatic Posts to Yourself)

  1. In Facebook, click on the sprocket icon in the upper right hand corner.
  2. Click on Privacy Settings.
  3. In the left hand pane, click on Apps.
  4. A list of your authorized applications will appear.  The middle column shows the visibility of an app and posts.
  5. To edit the visibility and posting access, click on either the word in the middle column or the Edit link to the right.
  6. Click on the drop-down list next to Visibility of apps and posts, and select the desired privacy level (Public, Friends of Friends, Friends, Only Me, Custom).
  7. RECOMMENDED:  Select “Only Me” to prevent game notifications from polluting the feeds of your friends.
  8. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for other applications.
  9. Exit the Privacy section.

Sharin’ Sharon.
Who am I talking about?  The person who shares dozens of images every day, and all from weird accounts like “Crazy Lady Duck Farts & Humor.”  Cat pictures, memes, syrupy “I love my sister/bff/cousin/podiatrist” images, and more personal affirmations than an AA meeting?  Share it.  A cute video of babies or puppies?  Share those too.

Look:  the Share button should be reserved for things that your friends want – nay, NEED – to see*, not two dozen eCards, some ugly-ass cowboy boots you won’t win, or schmaltzy inspirational images that made you smile.  That is what the Like button is for.

*Disclaimers:  If you’re sharing anything that starts with “YOU NEED TO READ THIS”, take 30 seconds to check it on snopes.com first, so you don’t end up looking like a gullible fool.  Obviously, the amazing and clever posts from the Feit Can Write Facebook page are exempt from this, and should always be shared.  Always.

I think Facebook should institute a limit on the number of shares you get per day or per month (say 5 a day and 100 a month).  Hell, let Zuckerberg sell additional shares for a buck each.

TonyAndToniTonestsonJointAccount. 
I know I did this one last time, but it still bugs me.  I am convinced that couples who share Facebook accounts either have severe trust issues or one person doesn’t really want to be on Facebook.  If there is another plausible reason, I’d love to hear it.

Seriously, it’s time.  Get your own account.

What did I miss?  What drives you nuts on Facebook?

Looking For Friends In All The Wrong Places

Facebook is a strange place.

In perusing my News Feed, I saw that one of my friends had Liked a photo.  The photo was of a little cotton ball of a dog touching an iPad with his dainty paw.  It was captioned “Can this cute puppy get 500,000 Likes?”*

I find these things silly.  What happens if that cute puppy gets his 500,000 Likes?  Does he get a steak dinner?  Does he use his cuteness to rid a child of cancer?  Does he avoid death and earn the chance to grow up to become a cute dog?  Or is the originator of the image simply a Like-Whore:  somebody so desperate for approval and validation that they concoct Snopes-ready stories to get a bazillion likes.

Personally, I avoid these things like the plague, chain emails, and Wal-Mart on the weekends.  But whatever – if the image of a cute puppy makes your day brighter, I’m truly happy for you.  Like away.  Just make sure your anti-virus software is up to date.

But what caught my eye was the following comment under the picture:

Please, please, somebody love me!

 

 

No disrespect to Mr. Garibovi, whom I’m sure is a wonderful person connected to thousands of equally lovely people that I would enjoy having as my Facebook friend, but hell freakin’ no.  I simply cannot fathom the avalanche of spam, scam, scheme, and virus infestation comes with inviting 2000 strangers into my circle of Facebook friends.

Can you imagine what your wall would look like?  “Let’s see what’s on Facebook today – Ah, Zura needs a small loan to make bail, Sergei is selling male enhancement pills, Vlad is facing deportation, I can end global warming by Liking a picture of a tree, Gorat is giving away ‘free’ iPads, and Prince Malik has determined that I am the heir to the Nigerian throne!”  It makes me sad that there are apparently 3,185 people so desperate for Facebook friends that they would gladly invite Zura and his 2000+ buddies into their world.

Hopefully these people will learn that when it comes to friends – be it Facebook or real life – quality will always trump quantity.  And I hope they realize it before their PC has more infection than a free clinic in Tijuana.

*For those of you concerned about the fate of that cute puppy, as of this post he had received almost 725,000 Likes.  Hallelujah!  Cute puppy lives!  Now back in your cage, little dog.

Thought of the Day – 12/21/11

Watching a rerun of Friends on Nick and I’m not sure what image throws me more:

  • Rachel trying to catch Ross at the gate before he flies off to China (she didn’t have to buy a ticket, get through TSA, or anything more than walking through a metal detector manned by some $5 an hour contract employee.

-or-

  • Seeing the twin towers of the World Trade Center between scenes.
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